Trump And His “Shitholes” Countries By Tayo Ogunbiyi

Recently, United States President, Mr. Donald Trump allegedly dubbed Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shitholes ” countries” whose citizens were not the kind of immigrants the United States wanted.

The rather vulgar statement has led to a flow of swift condemnation across the world. Understandably, the African Union, AU, has come out in strong term to condemn the alleged statement, while explaining that it “strongly believes that there is a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current [U.S.] administration.”

Besides the United Nations which has equally condemned the unfortunate statement, various countries had officially written to similarly denounce it. However, it is on the social media that condemnations that trail the purported statement are really heightened. Trust the social media! Before you could say Jack Robinson, several citizens from Trump supposed ‘Shitholes Countries’ started bombarding the space with attractive images of their respective countries, perhaps with the aim of debunking Trump’s “shithole” tag.

As I write this piece, in Africa especially, rather than dissipate, outrage against Trump’s supposed outburst has continued to gain momentum across the continent. Indeed, some African leaders have outrightly rejected Trump’s face saving rebuff of the statement. Some have even gone ahead to label the American President ‘a racist’. Most nations in Africa have made diplomatic protests over the alleged statement. In South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, the new president of the country’s largest political party, the African National Congress, described the president’s comments as “really, really derogatory, and highly offensive.”

In Nigeria, the country’s foreign minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama has called on American diplomats to clarify the president’s remarks, while portraying them as “deeply hurtful, offensive and unacceptable.” Similarly, Botswana, Senegal, South Africa, Haiti and Ghana have all called in American diplomats to explain what Mr Trump meant by his supposed comment. Predictably, the US State Department anticipates more US diplomats to be summoned by host nations over it as well, in due course.

Ironically, in the midst of it all, US, Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, claimed that “nothing has changed” between the US and African nations. But then, Tillerson doesn’t seem to be aware of the gravity of extensive havoc that Trump’s supposed statement has caused in the US-African relation. More so, when Trump’s Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reportedly said that: “The President hasn’t said he didn’t use strong language, and this is an important issue, he’s passionate about it, he’s not going to apologize for trying to fix our immigration system.”

The Trump administration left not quite a few keen watchers of African events perplexed when it alleged that Chad was particularly included in the ‘Shitholes Countries’ categorization because it failed to “adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information.” But then, the truth is that Chad has been assisting in the fight against Isis-West Africa, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram. Surely, it would take some time for the wound inflicted by the statement to heal. Presently, African hearts bleed, and Trump is the cause.

What one foresees from all this is that relations between African nations and the United States might become a bit strain for some time to come. With his America First philosophy, Trump has left no one in doubt that the days of hand outs from America to indigent African nations might be over. So, one anticipates that in the days ahead more African nations would continue to tilt more and more towards China for economic, technological and other forms of aids. Currently, especially along the West African coast, Chinese presence across many critical sectors is becoming quite pronounced.

The Chinese are building roads, ports, dams, railways and other infrastructure across Africa. These include a metro system in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and a vital railway connecting landlocked Ethiopia’s 100 million people to Djibouti’s Red Sea port, where the Chinese plan to open their firs6t military base outside China. In Kenya, they financed the biggest post-colonial infrastructure project in the country: a nearly $4 billion railway linking Nairobi with the country’s main Indian Ocean port in Mombasa. Currently, in Nigeria, besides its many infrastructure enterprise in many states, China is also building a major train network in Nigeria. Therefore, for many African nations, even before Trump’s supposed outburst, they have already picked a friend.

Cheerfully, while Trump sees nothing good about Africa, China sees abundant opportunities and it is willing to put in the necessary investment that could enhance the continent socio-economic development. It is a win-win scenario for the Chinese on one hand, and the African nations on the other. For one, Africa gets on with her quest for infrastructure development, while Chinese firms equally make modest gains. With this development, one expects the study of Mandarin, the Chinese language, to be in the increase in more African countries in years to come.

It is, however important to stress that African leaders should see the Trump’s eruption as a wakeup call to rescue the continent from the excruciating grip of poverty, corruption, diseases and poor governance. In Africa, the practicality of poverty is quite frightening as most Africans live on less than a dollar income per day. Perhaps more niggling is that, with 34 out of a total of 49, African countries account for a greater proportion of the Least Developed Countries, LDCs, in the world. This, perhaps, explains why poverty indicators such as extreme hunger, malnourishment, homelessness, diseases, high crime rate, slums, lack of opportunities, low productivity and illiteracy abound in larger quantity in the continent.

The African poverty situation is further compounded by failure of governments across the continent to properly harness human, natural and material resources for the common good of all. This is why Nigeria, a famous world oil exporter, is ranked among the poorest nations of the world. As things presently stand, the threat of poverty in the African continent might continue unabated, except African countries look inward to develop their natural resources and curb corrupt tendencies.

Nevertheless, Trump’s outburst is, to say the least, unpresidential and unbecoming of a leader of a country as revered as America. Great leaders think deeply before they talk. They weigh and measure every word before speaking out. The power of the spoken word cannot, in any way, be over emphasized. Indeed, research has shown that most communal, civil and international crisis that have plagued the world, at one time or the other, were exacerbated by scorching remarks of certain leaders ,who like parrot talk endlessly and senselessly without knowing when to stop. This is why it is often wisdom to always think before talking.

Unfortunately, Mr. Trump is like a parrot. He talks first and thinks later. He talks without restrain from both sides of the mouth. And he is not just talking, he is actually singing like a Red-eyed Vireo bird which sings more than 20,000 songs a day. This moment he says the earth is oval, the next moment he claims it is perpendicular!

Adelani Baderinwa: Celebrating A Steadfast & Humane Political Leader On His Birthday By Adeboye Adebayo

Egbon, your birth some years back gave an unnoticed remarkable sign of greatness to the World in its entirety and to humanity in general and since then, your life has been a huge lesson for the reasonable humans in the World but it is only those that can decode what life is all about in real sense that will understand your kind of person; who you are and what you stand for. You are different things to different people, a lot judge aright while many judge you very wrongly, most of them not because of their fault but they don’t have the grace and capacity to understand your personality, they are just assessing you from afar.

Honourable Adelani Baderinwa; the Honourable Commissioner of Information & Strategy in the Government of the State of Osun under the able leadership of our indefatigable achiever; Governor Abdulrauf Aregbesola is indeed an epitome of steadfastness, embodiment of loyalty and indeed an exemplary role model.

Your long soujorn and consistency in politics despite all odds is a book that I am currently reading, your relationship with many of us; young politicians is still making us stand.

Your character of being humane,(ah!! Egbon Lani is humane and very humble) humble and accommodating are second to none. 

Your words of encouragement and that of inspiration that you always reel out to us out of your personal practical experience made you a worthy leader among your peers.

Your hands of fellowship, hands of assistance no matter how difficult, your readiness to go extra miles to achieve result for others are other special characters that one cannot ignore about you.

No wonder, you have recorded a lot successes in your career as a professional journalist in Oyo, Ekiti & Osun State(s) and as a thorough bred politician in the State of Osun. Having the ears of the likes of Baba Omo Kekeke is not a joke, no but hardwork, consistency, loyalty, humility, readiness to serve and indeed ability to learn and to deliver under any condition of the environment. 

Also securing a Commissionership post at this crucial time of our government when we are winding down and our political tendency must continue, at a time when the opposition has taken their madness to the next level of physical destruction of public facilities, at a time when our government needs all image enhancements we can get to show case all numerous, timely and remarkable achievements of our government in all facets and sectors, is not by sheer luck but hard works and glaring ability that you have the capacity to deliver and the strategic knowledge to deploy your media arsenal appropriately to achieve desired results and that is one of the major characteristics of a good leader, not ordinary leader but a good one.

No wonder our government now relatively enjoy the respect, understanding and cooperation of media practitioners in the state and beyond.

Leader, as you are celebrating your birthday today sir, I join Ismaeel Usman, Ayobami Agboola, Isaac Adelowo, Lukman Lawal and other well wishers in your life to celebrate you today and wish you the very best life can offer you and your entire family.

I also pray that God in his infinite mercy will continue to be with you, guide you and protect you in all your endeavours in and outside office.

I also use this period to pray for your boss, your leader, our father, our mentor; Ogbeni Aregbesola that God in his mercy will grant him the grace to end his current tenure well, by the special grace of God, Ogbeni will never fall or be disgraced politically or otherwise in the State of Osun no matter the antics of the enemies within or without.

God in his mercy will grant Baba Bisi Akande and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu a long life and prosperity in good health and sound mind so that together, they will put this country to a desired position among the comity of nations very soon. (Amen)

Many happy returns sir.

Adeboye Adebayo is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress; APC, The National Publicity Secretary of Asiwaju Grassroots Foundation; AGF, Leader of Youths and a Raufist to the core.

With Osun APC 2018- The Future Is Bright

By Sodiq Lawal

Fellow brethren, It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Nigeria is out of recession! So, let all men of goodwill clink glasses in celebration of the valuable worth of a
country that will neither wear out nor rust out!

Having said that, to say that all is well with party politics in State of Osun, especially, as 2018 draws nearer, depends on which side the observer is looking at. Like Siamese twins, things are scarily looking up for the ruling party and the opposition is closer to fire than it is to frying pan.

The political lion and the economic bear are strategizing; even the wolves and the hyenas of our ethno-religious belongingness are waiting in the wings, desperately hoping to devour whatever remains of the country called Nigeria. It is therefore time Nigeria’s David woke up to the responsibility of killing the uncircumcised Philistines before they kill Nigeria dead. In my considered opinion, such an important task must start from the State of Osun! For all, I care, Peoples Democratic Party ,(PDP) brought us to this sorry past and it should not be allowed to take us for collective amnesiacs.

All about Osun is not a tale of woes. As a matter of fact, the state has gone too far to look back and credit must be given to the forward- looking governor. Within a very short period of seven years, Aregbesola has given a new hope of a state gloriously conquering, not miserably failing!

For example, while the state continues to pay sufficient attention to the education of its students, every teacher on its payroll now knows that he or she has the potentials to rise up to the topmost level of his or her career. Through activities of the Osun Broilers Outgrowers Programme Scheme, OBOPS, the state has not only “placed Osun second to Oyo State in broiler production in the country” , “about 1,000 farmers and over-3,000 food vendors” have also been gainfully employed.

In Osun, cases of Poliomyelitis are now consigned to the past due to the administration’s effective and extensive immunization initiatives. It will also interest readers to know that the state came 9th in the just- concluded National Youth Games with 9 Gold (including 3 Non- Scoring), 5 Silver and 4 Bronze medals, the first of its kind in a long while.

In ‘Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears’ , Tom Lutz wrote: “Professional mourners have not so much disappeared over the last millennium; they have simply donned robes and stopped crying.” To be fair to posterity, it is because of who we are that we are where we are! For example, even if APC is such “a coat of many clouds” and PDP, “a blind giant groping in the dark” , have we ever tasked those condemning the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to contemplate Nigeria’s present state had Goodluck Jonathan remained in power beyond 2015?

On the other hand, how do we draw a healthy line of distinction between social welfare and ‘stomach infrastructure’ and why should a man with the handkerchief be found in a sweating mode? Again, who is a better politician: one who builds bridges across the Niger through massive investment in his people’s future or one who merely ‘constructs bridges’ across the stomach?

Well, Aregbesola’s strides in the midst of the opposition’s brickbats bring to memory the Story of the Twelve Spies. Of the twelve sent out to “explore the Promised Land and give a report to Moses and the people” , only two – Joshua and Caleb – actually came back with a report of hope and possession as contrasted with the frightening arrogation of largeness, fortification and power to the city and its occupants by the other explorers. But then, God’s promise of giving the land to His chosen ones was not unfulfilled. Even at that, my Bible didn’t tell me that the spies’ return to the Wilderness of Paran at the end of their assignment put a lid on the plight of the Israelites on their way to New Jerusalem. May principalities and powers, assigned to rubbish our leaders’ efforts, backfire!

No doubt, the only party where lies effective transformation like we all are witnessing today in the State of Osun is the All Progressives Congress (APC). The current situation in the state of Osun is progress in all her Sectors. From infrastructural development, to agricultural development, to education, improved health sector, Urban renewal, job creation, youth and women empowerment and many other developmental projects.

With all sincerity, what we need now is continuity to the effective transformational plans of the present Government led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. He is a good leader which he has demonstrated over the years in deeds, words and actions.

Undoubtedly, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has brought to the doorstep of every household a dividend of democracy. He has made Osun a reference point to effective developments.

It might interest us to know that apart from Lagos State, Osun remains the only State that has concentrated the largest chunk of her resources to bring meaningful development on education. Ogbeni’s administration has constructed new 70-State-of-the-art educational facilities for elementary, middle and high School Pupils/ Students with a complementary renovation of additional 1,500 Classrooms. Timely approval and construction of over 1000kms of rural and Urban roads, programs such as O-YES ( Osun Youth empowerment Scheme) has produced 40,000 jobs to teeming Youths in Osun, which has drastically reduced the unemployment rate according to publication of the National Bureau of Statistics as also recognised by the World Bank.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has consciously improved Osun in all sectors, hence, the hope for Osun State lies in the continuity of the present APC government and adequate support to whoever wins the ticket to succeed the Governor in Office.

CAF Player Of The Year: Time For Nigeria To Look Inward By Oluwashina Okeleji

Perhaps the best way to begin this column is to heartily congratulate African Player of the Year, Mohamed Salah. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed what everyone knew: in 2017, there was no African better.

He edged out Liverpool team mate Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, both superb forwards in their own right, to become the first Egyptian in 34 years to win the award.

The point of curiosity, given the final three, was the clamour for Nigeria international Victor Moses as more deserving. This claim was entirely hinged on a season wherein Chelsea took the English Premier League by surprise, storming to the title after an initial wobble forced a change in team shape. While Moses is an intrepid, roving playmaker by international window, necessity dictated that when Antonio Conte needed a wing-back, he was tapped for the specialist role.

Perhaps the fact that Chelsea’s upturn in performances coincided with Moses playing more regularly led most to credit his influence directly, rather than that of a system that made a previously undisciplined winger into a disciplined defender.

Whatever the case, the argument seems to be that, having won a league title – more than could be said for any of the players in the final three – he should win by default. The fact that he did not has now come to be seen as the furtherance of some ancient agenda against Nigerian footballers. Not since Nwankwo Kanu won the second of his two awards in 1999 has a Nigerian been crowned Africa’s best. That’s a long time, but there is a danger of looking at it from the simple point of demographics.

Nigeria is by far Africa’s most populous nation, and football is by far its most popular sport. Just as science has proven, the human brain can struggle to grasp probability: we tend to think that, just because there are more of us, one of us should at least have won once on the last 19 years.

As such, it is convenient for the average Nigerian football fan to invent another reason for the dry spell. While Issa Hayatou was in power, and perhaps mindful of the (perceived) injustices of years gone by (Exhibit A: 1988/2000 Africa Cup of Nations finals against Cameroon), the narrative was that CAF was partial to Francophone nations.

So we hear that Mustapha Hadji won in 1998 on the back of one bicycle kick. Never mind that he scored at the World Cup as Morocco were hugely unfortunate to be eliminated, and that while he was scoring the bicycle kick in question, his closest challenger Jay-Jay Okocha was missing out on the Cup of Nations thanks to a CAF ban on Nigeria.

Look beyond the self-pitying narrative, and it is clear that, in the timeframe, there have been no viable candidates anyway. The aforementioned Okocha came closest, but was unfortunate to mature at a time when Samuel Eto’o was growing into one of Europe’s most devastating strikers. Should he have won in 2003 anyway? Maybe. But even allowing for that, it was still 15 years ago.

There is also the obvious question: why would CAF, or any footballing association for that matter, devalue its top award by being biased? To do that would amount to sabotage.
The simplest explanation is often the right one, but in this case, it is a rather uncomfortable one: our players simply are not good enough. To acknowledge this is to take responsibility, so you can understand why it’s not an easy pill to swallow.

A lack of ambition is at the core of the problem. The average Nigerian footballer sees football as a means to elevate his social and financial status. While there’s nothing wrong with that at all, it is the enemy of that extra push to true stardom.

It is also antithetical to discipline (once comfort is secured), another area in which our footballers fall down. The ability to delay gratification is a cornerstone of the drive for growth. When did you ever hear a Nigerian male footballer say he seeks to be the best player in Africa?

Yet, when Salah stood on the podium in Accra, he spoke plainly of his long-standing desire for the gong, and his intention to win many more. It is the lack of precisely that sort of ambitious thinking, focus and discipline, that has seen, and will continue to see our footballers come up short among their peers.

Why I Stand With Buhari By Femi Adesina

These are very difficult times in our country. Sad, mournful and dolorous times, as the New Year opened with killings in Rivers, Kaduna, Taraba, and Benue states, among others. Of course, there had been gruesome carnage on the Mambilla plateau mid last year, and bloodletting in Numan, Adamawa State, as well as in other places. Hell suddenly seemed to have enlarged itself against Nigeria. Sincere condolences to those who are grieving and mourning the loss of loved ones.

But instead of finding solutions, and joining to chart the way forward, some people are making political capital out of the killings. They are trying to use the orgy of bloodshed to advance their political interests, wanting to make it appear that it is a failure of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Faults are thick where love is thin. There is prejudice in Nigeria. Plenty. There is insularity, in prodigious quantity. There is animus, antipathy against anyone that is not of your ethnic or religious stock, or that belongs to a different political orientation or persuasion. If you meet him, kill him, if you can’t catch him, poison his footsteps, seems to be the singsong among some people. And as the build up to general elections next year gathers momentum, matters are made worse. Everything must be politicized, including wanton killings. There must be spurious handshakes across the Niger, and across the Benue, all for political gains.

But I stand with Buhari, and will always do. Why won’t you? Your snout is in the honeypot, licking the nectars of office, some cynics would say. Really? My bank balances do not indicate so. It is not just about money. It is about conviction. It is about believing in a man who can bring enduring change to our country, if we allow God to have His way through him.
Standing with Buhari through thick and thin is not about money, or the spoils of office, which are not even available in these lean times. In or out of my present position, I stand with Buhari. Sir Walter Scott wrote: “Other people’s resolutions may fluctuate on the wild and changeful billows of human opinion. Ours, now and forever, are anchored on the Rock of Ages.” In or out of government, I stand with Buhari. Why? You will get to know shortly.

There is strident attempt to defame, demean and de-market the Buhari government today. Who are those behind it? The crooks, thieves, freeloaders, who want business as usual. They hate probity. Their souls abhor accountability. They prefer the plunder of the past years, and can’t wait to see that epoch return. They engage in all sorts of misinformation and disinformation. Hate speeches. Fake news. Under us, you had leeks, onions and garlic to eat. You were fed manna till you wanted no more. When you were tired of the fluffy stuff, we gave you meat, you gorged yourself so much, till meat began to come out of your noses. They wouldn’t tell you about what William Shakespeare calls “the goodly apple, but rotten at the cheek.”

They won’t tell you about humongous amounts of money made from oil, which stood at over $100 dollars per barrel for about six years, and which they looted to the last cent. Foreign reserves; depleted. Excess Crude Account; looted. Federation Account; plundered. They turned the country to a wasteland, leaving an economy primed for recession. But deftly and sure-footed, the Buhari administration is building a new foundation for the economy, erecting an edifice that will stand the test of time, not a bubble that collapses with just a pinprick, not a will-o-the-wisp that vanishes in the midday sun.

That is why I stand with Buhari, and have stood with him since he was a military leader in the 1980s. I can trust this President. I can go to bed, knowing that my leader is not striking deals to fleece the country in the dead of night. I can trust that every money that comes into the coffers of Nigeria, will be used for the good of Nigerians. Am I saying it is a perfect administration? Such has not been forged from the smithy of the divine powers.

Every human enterprise will have its shortcomings, but on Buhari I still stand. I stand with him, and by him, any day.

Some people ask themselves: can we afford to be outside government for another four years from 2019? We would be dead! No access to the public treasury, which we know how well to abuse and plunder? To ravage and savage. They have spat into the sky, and collected the spittle with their faces. Rather than let Buhari be, we would employ all the tricks in the books. Defame, demean, de-market him. Is he not Fulani? He is supporting herdsmen causing murder and mayhem round the country. Trumpet it from the rooftops, even without a scintilla of evidence. He is sectional, and bent on Islamizing the country. He is fighting a one sided anti-corruption war. His war against insurgency is a fluke, not winnable.

They refuse to see massive investments in infrastructure, which would burst into full bloom in another year or two. Roads, rail, power. They refuse to see the rebounding economy, strides in agriculture and mining, all with good auguries for the future. They refuse to acknowledge the stock market, which recently recorded N15.78 trillion, the highest in the history of the country. What of N1.3 trillion spent on capital projects in 2016? And almost the same amount for 2017? No, they rather imagine how much of that amount they would have pocketed if they were in power, living in obscene luxury, while the rest of the country went to hell, if it wanted. They refuse to see the good things happening to the country. And none is as blind as those who deliberately refuse to see. All these and more are the reasons I stand with Buhari, and will always do. So that Nigeria can have a future and a hope. Our own Canaan, flowing with milk and honey.

After primitive fury was unleashed in Benue, and about 73 people were left dead, a sitting President eyeing reelection could also play politics with it, visiting and muttering the right words to impress the people. Nothing wrong. But for President Buhari, action speaks louder than words. Action stations, he told the security agencies. The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations was first despatched, then the Minister of Interior, the Inspector General of Police himself, and then the Nigerian Army. Consultations were held with the governor of the state, with Benue elders, and now, a committee headed by the Vice President, made up of nine governors, has been set up to proffer solutions to farmers/herdsmen clashes. Action truly speaks louder than words.

President Buhari has not thrown his hat officially into the ring for a second term in office. But they are in mortal fear of him running. Therefore, they do all they can to dissuade him. Malign him, paint him black, devalue him before the electorate. But they don’t know that there are many devices in the hearts of men, but only the counsel of God shall stand. If God has ordained President Buhari to be in power beyond 2019, human effort to stop it can only end in futility.

I stand with Buhari, because it is solid ground for Nigeria. All other ground I see, at least for now, is sinking sand. For us, for our children, for generations yet unborn, Buhari is engendering a new country, whose builder and maker is God. Let the wailers wail; endlessly. Let the heathens rage; till they render themselves hoarse. Let them throw even the kitchen sink at him, they did worse in the build up to 2015. I stand with Buhari. I know his heart for Nigeria, and for Nigerians. Let people shed their prejudices. Let them eschew hate, and purge themselves of all malice. The future can only then be written in gold.

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

Opening Up Rural Areas For Economic Development

Since the inception of the Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration in the State of Osun, the rural areas in the state have been receiving attention from the government through the Osun Rural Access Mobility Projects (RAMP). SHINA ABUBAKAR reviews some of the projects carried out by the agency so far.

As part of his campaign promises, Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola pledged to open up the rural areas as a means of not just reducing the Rural-Urban drift, but to ensure that farm produce gets to the markets in urban centres and add value to the agricultural sector in line with the administration’s six point Integral Action Plan to banish hunger and poverty, particularly at a time the nation’s economy needed much diversification from the monopoly of oil.

The activities of the present administration left no one in doubt of its desires towards the development of the rural areas as it tends to make roads accessible to the teeming populace who are farmers, potential farmers, young farmers or those who intends to venture into it, so as to reduce the stress of having to get perishable farm produce to the market, thereby reducing the loss of inputs and efforts put into farming.

The seriousness of the Aregbesola-led administration to open up rural areas attracted the attention of international organisations and the Federal Government of Nigeria,  and through partnership sponsor and finance construction and rehabilitation of earthen road and bridges that linked rural communities to the outer roads.

In the area of upgrading and rehabilitation of rural transport infrastructure, the state government through the coordination of Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP) has completed over 250 kilometres of roads out of the 500 kilometres scheduled for rehabilitation and upgrading across the state. Some of the roads already completed include Agbowu/Ogbaagbaa-Idiroko-Eleru-Bode-Osi, Bode-Osi Township to Asa junction to Dagbolu-Ajagunlase, Eeleke-Kanko-Telemu and Kanko. Others include Agoro-Ikonifin-Sadeto Ajagunlaase, Akinleye-AbaAyo-Isero, Pataara-Ileko-Oba-Odo-Omi-Farm settlement road 1 and farm settlement spur, totaling 59 kilometres which are all located in Iwo Federal Constituency.

The agency has also completed the construction and rehabilitation of 50 kilometres of rural roads in Ife Federal Constituency covering over seven villages within the routes of Lawoka, Idiahun, Aagbala, Ifegunle, Elewa, Apoje, Elewaa, Ife Tutun and Owena. This area are known for their richness in the production of both cash crops and food that enhance the living standard of the farmers  in the area. These communities were known to have been cut off from the market as a result of inaccessibility over a long period, forcing many to abandon farming and relocate to other urban areas in the constituency until the recent intervention of the government.

Most of the farmers in the area have commended the singular effort of ORAMP in opening the areas to the market and reducing the rate at which they suffer losses from wasted farm produce.

In Ilesa Federal Constituency, about twenty communities have been successfully linked to major roads in the area thereby facilitating access to urban areas, either for the purpose of agricultural, economic or social activities. Besides, some of the roads do not only serve farmers purpose, they are also emergency route during health situations.

The communities that benefitted from the first phase of the project in the federal constituency are Ilesa, Odogbo, Araromi, Ilo-Olomo, Ira, Ikeji-Ile, Arakeji, Araromi, Alagbe, Ibete and Orisunbare.

Others include, Ilesa, Muroko, Ilaa, Isolo, Okebode, Iwara, Asukuru, Odogbo and Isale General in Ilesa town and the total length is 50 kilometres.

Similarly, the administration also intervened in the construction of numbers of roads across the state to facilitate vehicular and human movement both inter and intra state to boost economic activities in both the rural and urban centres. Some of the roads in this class include; Iwo-Pataara road, Esa-Oke-Esa-Odo Farm settlement, Mokore Farm Settlement road, Orile-Owu/Ago-Owu Farm Settlement road, Idiroko-Akinleye Farm Settlement road, Farmers’ Plank Market road, Aato-Ayegunle-Ilawo road, Alaguntan Forest reserve Road, Ita-Oni-Onikoko road, Erin-Oke, QIIP Farm Road, Kuta, Okinni-Igbokiti O-Fish Farm Road, Asawo-sola Alusekere Road, Fashina-Agbagba-Adekanye-Osu Road, and OAU Road 7-Surulere Qrts-Ilesa Road and reconstruction and reclamation of Olufi Market in Gbongan.

Other markets that benefitted from the scheme are New MDS Market in Osogbo, Building Materials Market, Yam Market, Neighbourhood Market. Other roads in this category are Ajebandele-Fadehan-Lagata, Oba Sijuade Road, grading of Iyanfoworogi-Orinsunbare-Ajobo Junction and Aba Apa, Babasuwe Junction-Esa-Odo and the construction of Idi-Ore River Bridge.

Also, in the area of construction of bridges and river crossings, this administration blazed the trail by ensuring that communities that have been cut off from the rest of the state are reconnected to one another through this linkable roads. Many of the dwellers did not believe they could be reconnected to the socio-economic activities in the major towns considering the rate at which many urban centres crave for government attention.

However, the ORAMP management worked wonders by ensuring that even in the midst of paucity of funds, rural dwellers are also catered for and economic activities reawakened in the respective enclaves. Some of the benefiting communities are; Elewonta  river on Oke-Ola Elewonta road, Ohun river on Dabongbon Along Ago-Owu Farm settlement , Oke-Afo/ Alawe stream on Oke-Afo- Oluponna road, Olomu stream  on Fidiwo/Funmilayo road, Eyin-Ade stream at Okuta Aje Area, Osese River and Aatan stream along Koko road at Polytechnic road, Obuke River at Olukesi farm.

The agency did not stop at the named communities, it also extended its services to many rural isolated towns like;  Ejeo River, Ipon stream Agbelejere Road on Oyan- Otan Ayegbanju road, Owere River, Gbalefefe stream, Isule River at Oke-Aho, Ata River, Ogbaagbaa River, Alabakan River, Alakaso River, Oroki River along Otan-Ile – Ipetu-Ile Road, Oriki River along Otan-Ile –Igbajo road and  Asejere River along promised land.

Other benefiting communities are; Power line River along Oke-Odo, Olojo stream at Olojo Farm linking Aroko and Ilupeju communities, Omi River on Masifa- Isundunrin road, Shasha bridge, Opa river at Opa-Odunanin village on Doya –Akinola Road, Oyi adunni river, Oyile bridge on Oyile River.

Since the completion of these projects, it has brought about positive impact on the communities and its dwellers, both socially and economically. The state agricultural sector has recorded tremendous increase in output as more farm produce get to the urban markets on time and there is reduction in the cost of transporting the produce. It also reduces travelling time between these communities, especially those that are bounded by rivers, as travelers do not have to find their ways against the rivers through neighbouring communities.

The ORAMP initiative has also help to eliminate the middle-man concept thereby giving farmers the power of bargain as they now deal with buyers directly and this singular act has increased the income of the farmers. It also created job for the youth in the areas, as there are different community-driven programmes created to ensure the maintenance of these roads. The scheme engages youth in the community and as a result, reduces restlessness among them.

In the area of social development, the ORAMP scheme has increase land values in all the communities where the projects were executed , while the literacy level in the areas have also increased as a result of more social interaction between and among the migrating populace.

According to the project coordinator of O-RAMP, Engineer Adelere Oriolowo, the agency is able to perform to this level as a result of the high level support received from Governor Rauf Aregbesola through regular payment of its counterpart-fund and ensuring capacity building for staffers of the agency without defaulting on the provisions of donor partners.

 

Stop Demonizing Fulani Herdsmen In Shitholes

By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH, Friday, January 19, 2018)

“This is Reality Radio Corporation, 66.6FM, Abuja. My name is Moore Paine. Here are the news highlights: Herdsmen killed 756 in two years under Jonathan – Presidency; Taraba death toll rises to 60; FG has not done enough for herdsmen – Audu Ogbe; Soyinka blasts Buhari over Benue killings; I’ll protect Ekiti from herdsmen – Fayose; Prevail on Buhari to stop herdsmen attacks, Benue women tell Aisha; Council of States meets today in Abuja; Buhari replaces sacked NIA DG with northerner. Now, the news in full…”

“Switch off that stupid news, hadjia, I want to concentrate.”

“Why, Your Excellency? You need to listen to news. By so doing, you would know the yearnings of the people and the mind of the opposition.”

“Menini! What do I need to know the mind of the opposition for, hadjia? Was the opposition not there when I convincingly won the general election? Will people ever stop yearning? Let me tell you what you don’t know, the more you keep out of politics and concentrate on taking care of me and running the affairs of the other room, the better for you. You know I’m yet to forgive you for the interview you granted on the state of the villa’s hospital and the one in which you said I have been hijacked by some party people. If you were not dabbling into politics, you would have discovered the buying and riding of motorbikes under your nose. Eh, don’t tempt me to marry another wife, kajiko; I’m may be an old general, but I’m still strong, you know.”

“I don’t mean to disobey your Excellency. It is just that I hear a lot of disturbing news daily.”

“You hear disturbing news daily, kwo? And you go hysterical, ba? I have been hearing disturbing news in this country since 1960. Hadjia, please, I don’t want to hear any disturbing news this morning. I want to read some documents ahead of the Council of State meeting coming up today. I learnt the Ekiti roughneck and the Rivers ruffian will lead their fellow troublemakers to the meeting; I don’t want to be caught unawares on any issue, please. Professor has broken down all the issues in this document I’m reading – foreign reserve, anti-corruption war, fuel scarcity, and the two-fighting in Benue. I’m just lucky to have the Prof, you know. I think he is a real gentleman; no political ambition, only boko and turenchi.

“I think he’s a godly man, too. Your Excellency, check your time, it’s time for the meeting. I learnt the man from Ekiti has arrived and that he’s dressed in full hunter’s regalia replete with charms, cowries and horns.”

“That boy must be on drugs. I’ve prepared a place for him in Gashua, where he will go and continue his hooliganism, after his tenure. Let me go and attend the meeting.”

(National anthem and pledge rendition)

“So help us God, says the last line of our national pledge. I pray that the Lord will help our great country, Nigeria. Your Excellency and the Commander-in-Chief, fellow labourers in the vineyard called Nigeria, permit me, in my capacity as the deputy to the C-i-C, to declare this meeting open while the secretary to the government gives us what is on the agenda.”

“No, no, no, no! With due respect to you Prof, sir, there shouldn’t be any other thing on the agenda than the Benue pogrom. We shouldn’t sit down here as if all is well with this country, the nation is on fire and we are here seated in opulence, speaking grammar. The blood of the people killed in Benue and in other states is on our hands. Nitemi o, I want to make heaven when I die, because all of us will eventually die and go and meet our creator. I am from Ekiti, where we don’t fear to say our mind. Herdsmen have taken over the country, and there’s a deafening silence from the Ass-o-Rock because Fulani are involved, abi? Did IPOB kill anybody before it was declared a terrorist organization? The government must declare herdsmen terrorists, shikena.”

“Uhm, uhmm! Let me address the issues raised by the young man from Ekiti. I can see that you’ve turned criticizing my administration into a pastime. Well, that’s your own cup of tea. You said I should declare herdsmen terrorists, ba? May I ask you, what for?

“For turning Nigeria into suya fields, sir.”

(Interruption) “Eh! Look here, Mr Ekiti or what do they call you; you can’t be talking to His Excellency like that! Where do you think you are? Ado garage? Where were you when His Excellency was a military Head of State? Can you say this before His Excellency in 1983? Nna, I am from the state where we honor people with statues. Please, respect yourself o…”

(Cuts in) “So, thou shall not make for yourself a graven image is not in your bible, Governor Aaron? Where’re you when I was in power between 2003 and 2006?

“Rivers want to talk o; I’ve been pressing the buzzer and raising my hand since, nobody called me o. I want to talk o. Don’t wicked me o.”

“I was still talking, Mr Rivers, before the rude interruption from Ekiti. I may not know my age, but I know I’m old enough to be his father. Ekiti said I should declare herdsmen terrorists, ba? Me, who is not even a Christian, know what Jesus Christ said about the lost sheep. He said you should leave your 99 sheep and go in search of the one that is missing. Isn’t that so? If people steal herdsmen’s cows and herdsmen are looking for them, what’s terrorism in that? I think you should go back and take more bible lessons from your wife. Mr Rivers, you can now talk.”

“Your Excellency, I only wish to know why you sent soldiers on python dance in the South-East where nobody was killed, and you sent police to Benue despite the killings. Two, why haven’t you visited Benue? And what’s the response of Nigeria to the shithole labeling by President Trump?

“Thank you, the man from Rivers. You’re unusually calm today; it appears it is the Transporter that you hate, not me. I shall kill a whole cow and celebrate when the two of you decide to bury the hatchet, otherwise, I will label the two of you terrorists (laughs). Ehm, I cannot allow an inch of the territory the British bequeathed to us to secede. The General from the rocky community was wrong to allow Bakassi to go. If any part of the country talks about secession, herdsmen will go there or the military will go and dance disco there. You know disco? That dance that you will be whistling and shaking you head and jumping up and down like you’re dancing to Dan Maraya Jos. Don’t you know secession is a criminal offence? When people die, more people can be born. But when a territory is taken, it cannot be retrieved. Calabar people know better. Your second question; are you not an African? Does African tradition permit parents to see the corpses of their children? I’m the father of the nation. You want me to go and see the corpses of my children? I wish Bourdillon was at this meeting. He would have told you that South-West traditional rulers don’t see corpses.

“About President Trump describing African countries as shitholes; that means that President Trump has a plan for African shit. Maybe America wants to manufacture something with our shit ni. You see, this is one of the democratic dividends of our government. Did any American president talk about Nigerian shit before? I shall direct the Ministry of Information to tell Nigerians to increase their shitting because it will soon turn our economy around. You’re raising your hand, the man from the Confluence State, what do you have to say?”

“Your Excellency, I crave your indulgence to know when you’re graciously going to release the next bailout, sir.”

“Immediately after this meeting.”

“Ah!! After this very meeting!? Your Excellency, let’s declare this meeting closed with immediate effect, sir!

Chorus: Yeeeessssooooo!!!

“Everybody is laughing now o. Even our man from Ekiti is laughing, too. He’ll say in the papers tomorrow, ‘Bailout is my right’. Thank your star this is not a military regime.”

“God bless Nigeria.”

“Sai da safe.”

•Odesola wrote in from the US via [email protected]

BACK PAGE ‘Captain: In The Storm Of Life’

 

‘CAPTAIN: IN THE STORM OF LIFE’ is a biography of ISRAEL ADEMOLA GBADEBO HAASTRUP, who the author, OLAKUNLE ABIMBOLA described as a living legend –a treaties into the history of the Haastrups, a ruling family in Ilesa, beginning with their great progenitor, Oba Frederick Adedeji Kumokun Haastrup, Owa Ajimoko I.

Ademola Haastrup could have been yet another Ijesa prince living on old glory like a faded coin. Or used this privileged connections to join the wheeler-dealers, gorging on easy money in Nigeria’s rent-driven economy that he chose neither is the story of his illustrious life.

Structured into three parts, Cradle, Career, and Charity/Religion, Captain x-rays the life odyssey of captain Haastrup, a man of immense means, yet humble mien; a shrewd businessman with interests in real estate, international shipping, aviation, hospitality and banking.

Captain Haastrup has bountifully reaped from the material and the spiritual, thanks to his industry in business; and total devotion to his Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) Christian faith. More importantly, he has lived a life without stain. To the younger generation, he is a study on how integrity is the real success story.

The Author, in the preface to the book had said that Captain Hastrup’s profile fitted the series concept of projecting genuine heroes and role models in this era when people of integrity are rare.

With the project afoot, the author said no one deserve bigger appreciation than Captain Hasstruup himself, as he sat through three long interviews and a couple of short ones to supply information, despite his busy and punishing schedule. To show how tight for time he was – and always is – one of the interview sessions held on Christmas Day, 2004, “when we talk almost for the whole day, in the captain’s magnificent country home at Alatise Village, Ilesa, Osun State”.

The biography is “a celebration of Captain Haastrup, a rare species among the tribe of the rich and the affluent. Still, enough care is taken to do some cold, serious analysis  of his life and times”.

About The Series

The biography is the second in the series of the Continental Gold Network Communications (CGNC) Modern Nigerian Leaders Series (MNLS) to celebrate Nigerians of high integrity, in an age waiting for the harsh pronouncement of history as the High Age of Turpitude. But even with this sweeping moral paralysis, many Nigerians have held up banners without stain. Though this tribe may seem few, they hold a profound lesson for the younger generation: you don’t have to be crooked to count among the successful. CAPTAIN: In the storm of life (2007) is the second in the MNLS. Chartered Teacher (2000) was the first.

About The Author

Olakunle Abimbola, author, columnist and public affairs analyst, is a journalist of many years standing. A Language Arts graduate of the University of Ibadan, Abimbola earned both PDG and MSc. in Mass Communication with stress on print journalism from University of Lagos. A career journalist, he is at present a visiting member of the Editorial Board of New Age and The Nation newspapers.

CAPTAIN: In the Storm of Life’ is Abimbola’s second  published biography. The first was Chartered Teacher: A Biography of Ganiyu Adio Akintola, which he co-authored with Bola S. Disu.

 

Osun: Preparing For The Future

Two significant events took place in the State of Osun this week. Both of them indicates a forward thrust to lay strong foundations in the state. The initiatives are interlocking and in this way a synergy is being created here into a critical mass.

The first initiative is the signing by the Osun Produce Board (OPB) of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke in order to boost commercial agriculture in the state of Osun through advance Technology. As the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Osun produce board, Dr Yemi Adegoke pointed out during the signing, “… the MOU is in line with the vision of the present government led by Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola to boost agricultural production and improve the income for all that are involved in the agriculture value chain”.

Very well stated by Dr Adegoke, for it is absolutely critical in the process of modernisation leading to industrialization that there must be an upliftment of the process from subsistence to commercial farming. This is the only way to revitalise a stagnant rural economy and uplift the living standards of farmers. Involving the Osun State College of Technology, Esa Oke is also very important. For the transition to commercial farming must be focused on technology and research which the institution is eminently suited to provide. The synergy will be decisive.

The modernisation of Agriculture will certainly be decisive for the state to meet the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) target of N10 billion monthly proposed by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Modernizing agriculture means that the State of Osun will be operating on the framework of the State of Iowa In the United States. The comparison is important. Iowa is a very successful economic example. It does not have the[minerial] resource base of much larger Texas, the technology industries of California or New York’s turbo-charged financial services industries.

Nevertheless, Iowa is a sterling success story. The state has leveraged its highly developed agriculture through technology, research and cutting edge commodities exchange mechanisms to provide very high living standards for its citizens. Osun must look at the Iowa model as well as the Cooperative model of The Netherlands. It is astonishing that the Netherlands with less than a third of the landmass of our own Niger state, consistently exports over $100 billion worth of Semi-processed and processed agricultural commodities a year. For Osun this is the way to go.

Ogbeni is absolutely correct to point the way forward. Osun must build on the framework of taxation as the way forward to sustainable development. In his words –”So we must henceforth let the people of Osun know that if Lagos could earn N41.7 billion as IGR every month, then it will unthinkable and irresponsible for Osun not to strive to make N4.1billion every month.

“That is what we need. It is the least we can work on. So by 2028 if Osun must be modern, we must have capacity to generate N10 billion monthly.

“So, the communiqué of this workshop must develop the capacity to support the state in its quest for development in practical term that will make Osun one of the best, economically viable in Nigeria”, Aregbesola told the gathering.

He added, “The reason for this summit is on how Osun will be in 2028. We must through this summit, acquire capacity to be able to fashion out ways of improving our revenue base because one thing we cannot deny is the economy fact that in 10 years to come, there will be no economic value for crude oil.

“We must also be conscious of the future population explosion in whatever economy we are planning by educating the people against the effects of reckless procreation because if we failed to take the bull by the horn, the present population in the country would have risen to 200million with similar effect on each state of the federation in 10 years time.

“Thus, we must aggressively pursue local production on our own to overcome unemployment and the consequences of it, otherwise, we will still be facing challenges”.

This is the incontrovertible roadmap for the future. The political will as well as the robust resolve is clearly there. What will be vital for the future of another generation is to ensure the continuity of this laudable objective by electing a progressive government on the 22nd September, 2018 to continue this framework. All hands must be on deck to achieve this.

The Sex Doll Syndrome Shows How Senseless We Might Have Become, By Moroti Olatujoye

Nigerian Twitter has gone crazy after news and pictures of sex dolls broke recently. Men of course are excited about it and are giving a million and one reasons why they will purchase what most of them term as the best gift for valentine’s day, women are furious that men even feel excited about this doll in the first place. In fact, women feel betrayed that men will choose this over them.

Firstly, I must acknowledge how even as a woman, these dolls look absolutely sexy to me, I mean the “physical perfection” is amazing (keep calm, it’s not what you think), secondly I must also pray sincerely for the brains behind this as I hope these dolls reduce rape crimes all over the world especially now that sexual abuse and assault seems to be the “In Thing”.

Generally, phallic objects and topics relating to sex has always been a thing of amusement or should I say catches more attention than any other thing in human history, it is pathetic the height of interest the sex dolls have sparked in our youths especially here in Nigeria.

Few weeks ago, January 1st to be precise, over 60 people was killed by gunmen in Benue state and the world mentioned it for only half the day. There were no hash tags, no trends to frustrate the government to look into the matter like we did with #operationendsars, nothing from our social media addicts that could help. Do I even need to talk about the recent video of the Chibok girls and how these so called Boko Haram members have brainwashed these girls to believe that they had no business coming back to the life they had, but to sit with them as they kill thousands of innocent people and have babies for these criminal?

Are we really the future if our brains are so shallow and easily swayed? I for one loved the SARS drama and how we had all spoken up to these bullies who are paid to protect us, but should I also drop the tiny fact that most of us “lowkey” know why every youth was on and on about the movement, (lips sealed for another day).

There are sex dolls and we should appreciate that this will make the world perhaps a safer place for us, as rapist have no excuse anymore, but shouldn’t we focus on bigger problems together? These herdsmen are everywhere, the Badoo cult killings, the kidnappings, the Biafra drama, the never ending battle between patience Jonathan and EFCC, the fact that DSS officials arrest journalists who write their opinions and publish, and oppress Pastors who speak their minds to the congregation, the bullet proof cars that can feed people at the IDP camps that our leaders use, and so much more.

While we go crazy about a sex doll that cannot come visit you when SARS arrests you for breathing, our country is faced with problems bigger than even our leaders, problems we have to cry to the world to help us with.

As the youth who are the future of this great country, we have to wake up, intelligently wake up and use this social media to turn things around?

The Season Of Recanting By Reuben Abati

“I wish I could travel to the US right now”

“Why? Why not wait till summer time?”

“No, I feel like going there physically to tell President Donald Trump exactly how I feel about the statements he has been making about the black world.”

“You don’t need to go to the US to do that. Follow him on twitter and tell him what you feel.”

“I am just angry.”

“We all are. Each time the man opens his mouth, pure shit comes out. I mean, he has lowered the dignity of the office of the American President.”

“You know when he said Haiti and African countries are shit-hole countries, it was as if a part of me died. I am black and proud. But by calling us citizens of shithole countries, President Trump just stuck a pin in the entire framework of the African Renaissance, Negritude, and the growing wave of Afro-optimism”.

“But the man has recanted though. He said he didn’t actually say so, and that he is not in any way a racist.”

“He only used tough words. I heard him. But what are those tough words? The words of an American villager who does not believe in the dignity of other peoples of the world; the words of a nativist, and an egotist.”

“This was how the man once said Nigerians live in huts”

“He should visit the private palaces of Banana Island or Asokoro and come and see what he calls huts.”

“Can you blame him? He says he has special intellect, and he is a stable genius and a billionaire.”

“Which billionaire? Is he richer than Dangote? Let him stop boasting. He is a billionaire. Can he spray better dollar at a party? The man is an accidental President. He should learn to carry himself with decorum. That was how the other day he even said the people from Haiti all have AIDS.”

“He has been most unfair to the people of Haiti if you ask me. He needs to be reminded that the people of Haiti fought for American independence. The Volunteer Hunters of Saint-Domingue, the largest unit of men of African descent fought in the American Revolutionary War in Savannah, Georgia.”

“The year was 1779. But what has been Haiti’s reward. America has consistently joined Europe to plunder and humiliate Haiti. I know the history. Haitians did not go to America on a boat. They went there as revolutionaries. Henri Christophe and the other Haitian Revolutionaries must be turning in their graves. To be so insulted by a man whose ancestors were not part of the Revolution that he now benefits from as President of a United States.”

“It is the black man’s burden. You know even during the American Revolution, men of colour were treated as second-class citizens. Trump speaks for an established tendency. You’d be surprised that the mainstream, average American doesn’t see anything wrong in what he has said. Many white Americans actually believe that we live in shitholes. In fact, worse, hell-holes”

“What surprises me is the fact that there are many Uncle Tom Africans and black people who believe that Trump has not said anything that we do not know already.”

“Some people enjoy being oppressed and abused. They have no pride. If you abuse their mother, they will say Yes sir (!), before realising their folly”

“It is called the Stockholm syndrome.”

“One guy sent me a video message on whatsapp showing some people in Agege, jump-starting a train, and he asked: what is this? Is this not a shit-hole? And we are blaming Trump?”

“How do you jump-start a train? What is that?”

“The train suddenly stopped on the rail-track and the engine refused to start. The passengers came down. Passers-by joined them and they pushed the train until the engine coughed back to life.”

“In Nigeria?”

“In Agege, Lagos. I saw the video. The passengers were so happy and they cheered as if something glorious had occurred.”

“Whatever. That still doesn’t make us a shithole. Growth is a process, not a structure.”

“I got a note from one of our brothers in the US. He said we should see the Trump statement as a challenge to make our continent better. When Americans hear that state Governors in Nigeria do not pay salaries, or that African leaders change the Constitution so they could remain in office for life, or that some countries have no electricity, no potable water supply and that the United States has to assist some African countries to buy mosquito nets, while the country’s lawmakers are busy dancing and junketing around the world, they simply conclude that Africa is a shithole.”

“Which shithole? There are many Nigerians in the United States who are better educated than most Americans. We are the most educated set of African immigrants in the United States.”

“So, how does that take the shit out of you? That’s what the average American thinks. With all your education, they may still ask you: where did you learn to speak English?”

“Right inside my mother’s womb”

“And then of course, when they hear about Boko Haram and the killing of human beings to avenge the theft of cattle, I mean, I mean, the confused American would just start screaming shit, shit, shit mehn.”

“There is more shit in America than in the entire African continent and Haiti. Trump owes us an apology.”

“Some people are likely to say it is African leaders who owe our people an apology for turning us into the laughing stock of the world. Are you aware that the Chinese and Asians in general also think Africans and black people are full of shit; it is just that they don’t say it?”

“If anybody tries that, I will punch him or her in the face.”

“If you are looking people to punch in the face, I can recommend some people around here. Let’s leave Trump alone with his shit.”

“Like who and who?”

“The people who put Nigeria in this mess. All the people who had the opportunity to deliver change and progress but turned Nigeria into Trump’s wash-hand basin.”

“How many persons are you going to punch in the face? You’d end up having bruised knuckles. Shouldn’t we at least thank God that some people are beginning to confess and recant?”

“Fulani herdsmen have confessed and recanted?”

“Who is talking about Fulani herdsmen? Fulani herdsmen want grazing colonies across Nigeria and their right to do business in any part of Nigeria.”

“Who is questioning that? Every Nigerian is entitled to basic freedoms but not at the expense of others. And as for grazing colonies, government has to come up with a more creative and acceptable solution. Nobody in the South wants a grazing colony.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“I don’t want anybody to graze cattle on my family’s ancestral land. If anybody tries that, I’ll report the matter to the Aaare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams. ”

“Not the police?”

“Which police? The same police that described criminal conduct as community clashes? You think the Yoruba traditional rulers who have appointed a Generalissimo of the Yoruba army do not have a strategic reason for doing so? Let anybody come and take Yoruba land and let us see.”

“Government can take land in the public interest and convert it into a cattle colony.”
“In that case, I hope the same government will take land in parts of the North and give to the National Piggery Association to establish pig colonies across the North. Igbo livestock farmers are also demanding colonies for their pigs in all states of the Federation.”

“I don’t think Northerners will want anybody to come and set up piggeries all over their territory. Muslims regard a pig as a dirty and unclean animal. Muslims don’t eat pork, but you eat beef.”

“No. I eat fish. In fact, I am planning to join the Boycott-Beef-Movement of Nigeria, if that will put an end to cattle grazing and the conflict between pastoralists and farmers. I can’t accept that the life of a cow is more important than that of a human being. Did you see some of those gory pictures from Benue? Human beings were slaughtered like cattle at the abattoir.”

“I am sorry, you are beginning to sound like Trump. You are describing a shithole of a place.”

“I can criticise my country if I wish, but Trump has no right to be rude to us.”

“When we become a country in a real sense, you’d be able to speak with true pride. Look at Ghana. Look at Botswana. Their Presidents immediately issued statements to tell Trump off. Nigeria has not uttered a word. The shithole countries tend to know themselves. But there is is hope. May be things will change.”

“Change. I hear that all the time. Afterall, they have started again. Fr. Ejike Mbaka recently preached that the only way we can have change is for President Buhari not to seek a second term, and that if he does, he will be disgraced at the polls.”

“The man don recant be that oh. He don change prophecy. I think he owes us an apology.”

“Let him keep his apology. The one that really shocks me is that of Pastor Tunde Bakare delivering a state of the nation address in which he scored the Buhari administration so low.”

“I am not interested in his scores. He should revive the Save Nigeria Group and return to Ojota. What is fair is fair.”

“But the man spoke oh. No holds barred. I couldn’t believe he would attack President Buhari like that. I listened to him as he spoke about signs of retrogression, unemployment. ”

“I hear he wants to be President”

“This his last sermon was not about Presidential ambition. He called for a renegotiation of Nigeria because according to him, Buhari has failed Nigeria.”

“What? Did he mention Jonathan?”

“I think that trick of blaming Jonathan for everything wrong with Nigeria is no longer working. People have seen through that. If you know the number of young people who campaigned for the APC in 2014/2015 who are now recanting. In fact, many of them are very angry.”

“The children of anger have found another victim! I read those things and laugh. I thought we told them and they said we were clueless. They have now seen the true meaning and nature of cluelessness.”

“I won’t say that. It is not good to gloat. In a democracy, the people have the right to make choices and that includes the right to make mistakes.”

“One of their aunties, the Red Card auntie, has moved from looking for Chibok girls to distributing red cards and asking people to reject both the PDP and the APC. You know what her yesterday’s friends told her?”

“No.”

“They told her to go and join the National Referees Association, and stop abusing the Red Card. She too has recanted. She has seen the light.”

“I don’t see why you find this funny.”

“Let me finish. You see one of those boys who used to flex muscle on twitter. I read an article by him too. He publicly apologized for being misled and for misleading others.”

“He doesn’t have to. The problem with us in Nigeria is that we are too emotional. We should learn

to be analytical. Suppose it is corruption that is fighting back, at the root of whatever is making you laugh.”

“Even our brother, Bob Dee, Dele Momodu has expressed his regrets. He wrote this hot article…”

“The problem with us in Nigeria is that we love slogans. We should learn to get to the root of things before taking positions. The people are emotionally conflicted; our bail-out Governors don’t know what to do. Every little thing, they run to Abuja to beg for a bail-out. The failure of governance at the state level is the real problem.”

“You mean the real shit-holes are in the states?”

“I think so.”

“Shit. Shit.”